Orlando Child Custody Attorneys
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Child custody can be one of the most difficult and contested aspects of a divorce. The children’s well-being is usually the greatest concern when parents split up.
At The Law Office of Paulette Hamilton, P.A., we understand the problems you may be facing in regards to custody. Our firm is dedicated to helping you and your spouse or unmarried partner find ways to resolve your differences effectively.
Child Custody Guidelines & Policies in Florida
The Law Office of Paulette Hamilton, P.A. handles all types of issues related to child custody, including:
- Temporary custody
- Full custody
- Relocation, including international relocation cases
- Parental relocation disputes
Custody Terms in Florida
Florida has done away with terms such as “custody,” “custodial parent,” and “noncustodial parent.” Florida courts now assign parental responsibility to parents, either sole responsibility or shared responsibility. Visitation rights have now been termed as time-sharing arrangements in which parents create a parenting plan that details those arrangements.
Creating a Parenting Plan
When creating a parenting plan, you will need to decide:
- With whom your child(ren) will live the majority of the time
- When your child(ren) will spend time with the other parent
- How responsibility will be shared for major decisions concerning the child’s health, education, religious upbringing, and other important matters
- How child support will be impacted by living arrangements with each parent
In determining child custody matters, the court’s priority is always what is in the best interests of the child. Courts favor children having a continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents unless some factor – such as substance abuse or domestic abuse – would prohibit it.
Can I Get Full Custody of My Child?
A court will only grant full custody if it is determined to be in the best interests of the child. Full custody will not happen due to a request, but rather due to the judge determining that it will truly benefit the child.
Is There a Difference Between Full and Sole Custody?
No — full and sole custody are the same. Full custody is not a legal term, meaning that it is only used to refer to a sole custody. Additionally, an individual that refers to their child custody as ‘full custody’ may be referring to the fact that they have sole physical custody and sole legal custody of the child. It is possible for one parent to have full physical custody of a child, while sharing legal custody, or vice versa.
How do I File for Full Custody?
Florida law states that shared parental responsibility is typically in the best interest of the child, so if you are fighting for sole custody, you will need to state why shared custody would be detrimental.
If you are married and are seeking full custody of your children during divorce proceedings, you’ll need to file for custody in the county where you reside. However, if you are unmarried, you will need to file a Petition to Determine Paternity — even if this has been previously done in the county circuit court where you live. Then, the other parent will need to be served. Once they respond, you can respond accordingly.
Is Florida a Mother or Father State?
In the case of parents that are not married, Florida is one of the states that designates the mother as the main custodian of a minor. Until paternity or custody is established, the mother has the sole legal rights of the child by default unless something changes. All mothers therefore have the right to establish paternity as well on behalf of the child.
What Is an Unfit Parent in Florida?
There are several potential reasons that could lead a parent to be unfit for child custody according to Florida Statute 751.05.
- They must have been negligent to the child or have abandoned their duties
- They could be unfit if they have a documented history of mental illnesses or drug usage
- Their home is deemed unsafe for a child to reside in
- False accusations or wrongful alienation is taking place
There are certainly other scenarios, and every case is different. Be sure to contact our team to learn more!
Let Us Help You Reach a Fair Arrangement
Our firm is committed to helping you and the other parent of your child reach an agreement that works for everyone whether through negotiation, mediation, or litigation. We know how difficult this issue can be for many parents who may have difficulty agreeing on what is in their child’s best interests. However, our firm has helped countless parents resolve this issue and find a positive outcome at the end of the case.
Attorney Hamilton's professionalism, timeliness and results are unmatched- Michael Orlando
Thanks to Mrs. Hamilton and staff for their outstanding service!- Virtuous Merchant
I highly recommend this practice!- Denise O.
Thank you Paulette, Angela and Susan.- Kym B.
I am truly thankful for the care and attention they placed on my case.- Ashley S.